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Tiding over viral Covid19 storm



The year 2020 came with an unprecedented challenge for the whole world in the form of the Covid19 pandemic. Companies had to shift to remote working at very short notice due to sudden lockdowns and social distancing norms. This situation presented a unique challenge for Digitise IT, as for 20 years of operations we never thought of working remotely.

The nature of our business is such that requires employees to work in close quarters and collaborate with each other to deliver quality output with daily deliverables. Most of our projects are around daily delivery schedules with turnarounds with 24 hours of receipt of work.

Each project is extremely process oriented and dependent on teamwork. Each CAD drawing goes through a process of downloads, digitization, quality checks and finalization, before uploads to the customer. File sharing, file protection, file transfer norms are strict and a rights-based access is defined on our server.

In addition, any operations office is setup around quality infrastructure of LAN, file Servers, firewalls, uninterrupted Power supplies, Power backup, reliable dedicated internet connections and also around the optimum usage of hardware (computers) and software licenses. We have a cutting-edge setup at Digitise IT’s operations centre to create an effective atmosphere focusing on staff collaboration, productivity, and quality outputs to all of our customers.

A vast majority of businesses faced difficulty in March 2020 when they had to develop an efficient management plan to ensure business continuity due to the impending threat of a global lock-in. All our clients expressed concern and sought assurance on our plans to provide them with continuous service.

Planning and Executing the Shift to Remote Working

Senior management at Digitise IT prepared a detailed strategy on-paper outlining each employee’s requirements for working from home, their skill sets, and the hardware and software licenses they would need to work with. To ensure a smooth transition to working from home management had to ensure that all the employees had computers, laptops, fast and stable internet connection, power backup, etc., within budgetary constraints.

Markets were overrun with requests from all kinds of businesses, and laptops, PCs, and other technology were hard to come by. Our software’s require high-end computer configurations and there was no time to buy new computers or uninstall the software licences from office computers to cloud computers. To assure the transition from the LAN environment to the wifi-based Work-from-home environment, Digitise IT’s Management then had to go the approach of outfitting the office computers with wifi adapters.

The shutdown in India was announced almost immediately, so we had to make sure that deliveries to current clients were uninterrupted and there was no downtime in addition to easy onboarding of new projects. We permitted the staff to take the office PCs home in order to be sure of this. Three things were guaranteed by this action: first, that the majority of employees could work from home; second, that the project templates, typefaces, and other needs were already set up; and third, that admin controls on assuring use of our licenced software were ensured.

To add to the excitement, Digitise IT signed off on a new project in March’2020 at the same time. In addition to planning for lockdown and a smooth transition of the current projects, we also had to ensure a smooth onboarding of this new project, which included understanding and outlining the client needs, team training, and ramping up with new hires and their training. The training of employees was in nascent stages at this time and online collaborating tools such as Zoom, Microsoft teams and google meet came to our rescue.

Each project team easily transitioned to the new method of working and communicating using safe file sharing platforms like Google Drive and working together on Google Sheets designed for project-specific communication, process flow, and on-time delivery.

Our clients all across the world, mainly in Europe, continued giving us work as they would have during regular hours while India was still in lockdown. Since clients wanted to do as much work as possible before the next pandemic wave and more lockdowns, our workload increased substantially. This presented the issue of adding workers while still being under lockdown in order to satisfy our clients’ bottled-up demand.

Digitise IT management and HR further reaffirmed our approach to work in order to guarantee excellent hiring, quick onboarding and training of new hires, and a smooth transition to a successful work-from-home environment.

Maintaining High Quality Work and Employee Well-being in a Remote Environment

We had to tweak our policies which facilitated work life balance. It was very important to establish clear expectations, defining core working hours and regular breaks were encouraged to provide employees with a healthier work-life balance. Various activities such as virtual town halls, regular meetings, celebrations were held to keep employees abreast of various happenings in the organization.

We encouraged our employees to draw boundaries between work and personal life by taking regular breaks and encouraging them to disconnect after working hours. We also encouraged our employees to indulge in self-care practices and maintaining physical and mental wellbeing.

We had no idea when we were planning that we would be working from home for over two years. Looking back today, at this two-year period of work-from-home, we conclude that transition to work from home presented unique challenges unheard of. We proudly say that by establishing clear communication channels, setting expectations, and ensuring that our employees have access to the right tools, we were able to achieve nearly zero delivery breaks to all our customers.

We must praise all of our project teams for their tenacity and diligence in making sure Digitise IT emerged stronger. The job that was started during the lockdown was successfully finished, and the customer was thrilled with the results.

Our customer’s testimonial says it all!

After all this time we never regretted that decision, as the team is doing a great day by day job and in our feeling the DigitiseIT team is not a subcontractor but are also part of our team!

Please note – we started that project in the week of worldwide Corona lockdown. And YES both sides had major tasks to get the project started. But the professional DigitiseIT management and the team’s willpower in that time is still in our mind.”

Even though we are back in the office, we are still using some components of the work-from-home paradigm, like virtual interviews and paperless nonverbal communication. This has assisted us in increasing the effectiveness of our operations.

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